Book Week Scotland 2017 is taking place from Monday 27 November – Sunday 3 December.
Welcome to our Book Week Scotland 2017 special. Every day we are featuring guest posts from various Authors with a variety of genres to suit every reader.
Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books and reading that takes place every November.
During Book Week, people of all ages and walks of life will come together in libraries, schools, community venues and workplaces to share and enjoy books and reading. They will be joined in this celebration by Scotland’s authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators to bring a packed programme of events and projects to life.
Today Tana Collins is here with a special guest post. Care to Die is out now.
A Day in the Life of a Writer
By Tana Collins
I think a lot of readers are fascinated by what a typical day in the life of a writer is like. Many of us, particularly those of us who still work another job or two, don’t have a typical day. We try to squeeze our writing in where we can and although it may not be our day job it can still be obsessive.
I’m really fortunate in that I am self- employed as a Massage Therapist so that I can work both jobs around each other. If I have a big edit that comes in from my publisher then I’ll take time away from the day job to get the edit done. Timing can be unfortunate, though, as you don’t always know exactly when the edit is coming in. The final edit for my debut novel, Robbing the Dead, came in when I was on my anniversary weekend with my partner, Ian, all cosied up in a boutique hotel in Central London. We had tickets to see Arsenal and I wasn’t going to take my laptop to the stadium. Well, actually did think about it but decided there was too much of a chance it might get damaged. And what was I going to do? Edit at half time? Let’s just say that during our train journey back to Edinburgh on the Sunday night I was working like a demon when everyone else appeared to be drunk or asleep!
I do my best and most relaxed writing on holiday much to my partner’s frustration. Crete is my favourite holiday destination but I’ve worked on Robbing the Dead in Jamaica, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. It took ten years to write! I’ve also written in A&E (I’m ashamed to say I was the one who got sent there) and at my mother’s bedside when she’s been ill. Did I mention it can be obsessive?
If the house is quiet and I have a day to myself to write I’ll generally start at about 9.30am and break for lunch three hours later. In the early afternoon my favourite pastime is taking a nap. During this time I’ll be in a strange half sleep half wake state ruminating about various problems or issues I’m having with the manuscript. I usually wake much clearer headed and generally having solved the problem. It’s actually quite amazing. I have no idea how it’s done. I just hope it doesn’t stop happening. I start again at 5pm for a couple of hours, break for supper then, if needs be, start again at 10pm!
I must admit I got in to the habit of working late at night when I was looking after my Mum during her recovery from bypass surgery following a shock heart attack. I had a few sleepless nights worrying about her so decided, rather than fret, I’d do something positive. I grabbed my laptop and started typing, even if it was at 2am.
I even managed to incorporate my poor Mum’s illness in to my writing. It was the Scottish writer and editor, Allan Guthrie, who suggested I give my lead detective, Jim Carruthers, a brother, who has a shock heart attack. It made sense, after all I had the experience, but it was a hard thing to do as it felt so personal. Allan was right though that it made the character of Carruthers more realistic. And somehow more vulnerable.
I am a firm believer in the saying that nothing in life is wasted. I find a lot of my personal experiences creep in to my writing. We had a big fight on our hands to try to save a nature reserve from property developers in South Edinburgh. This becomes the backdrop and subplot in Care to Die. And the police investigation behind the terrible and heart breaking theft of my mother’s antique grandfather clock is woven in to the third Carruthers novel, Mark of the Devil, to be published in 2018.
The wonderful thing about writing is there is no such thing as a typical day. At least not for me. And that’s the way I like it.
Robbing the Dead and Care to Die, published by Bloodhound Books 2017. Mark of the Devil to be published in April 2018.
Looking for your next unputdownable mystery? Then try this book by #1 best-selling author Tana Collins, a mystery full of stunning twists and turns.
Struggling with his demotion back to DI and his concern for the grieving DS Andrea Fletcher, Jim Carruthers is thrown in at the deep end when the body of an old man is discovered stabbed to death in a nature reserve- a ball of cloth rammed into the back of the victim’s throat. The only suspect is a fifteen-year-old neighbour who is known to the police for antisocial behaviour. But the teenager has an alibi.
When a second elderly man is also found dead at the same locale, with the same MO, Carruthers starts to wonder if they have a serial killer on their hands.
On discovering that the first victim, Ruiridh Fraser, has an estranged son living in Iceland, Carruthers flies out to interview the man, now convinced that the reason behind Fraser’s death lies in his past.
But what does the disappearance of a twelve-year-old boy forty years before, the brutal murder of a former journalist and a bitter local dispute about a nature reserve, have to do with the investigation?
Can Carruthers and Fletcher solve the case while battling their own demons?
And are they hunting for one killer or more?
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